Illinois is on the verge of increasing its highway speed limit.
It's difficult to know just when a public issue will come up fast from behind, particularly in a state like Illinois that focuses on trivia while real issues are stalemated.
But it's happening again in Springfield. State House and Senate members have by overwhelming majorities voted to raise the highway speed limit in most of Illinois from 65 to 70 miles per hour.
The legislation, Senate Bill 2356, allows Cook and collar counties like DuPage, Lake, Kane, Will and McHenry counties to opt out of the higher limits. Madison and St. Clair counties, St. Louis-area counties, can do the same.
The opt-out provisions are hilarious in a perverse way. Anyone who drives with regularity in the Chicago area knows that practically everyone speeds on the interstates there. If you're driving 70 miles per hour, the chances are excellent that other motorists will pass by as if you were stuck in concrete.
Gov. Pat Quinn has not indicated what he'll do with the legislation, assuming it matters, given the overwhelming likelihood of a veto override. But not everyone is supportive. The Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police oppose the increase, contending traffic fatalities will increase.
Thirty-four states currently have speed limits of at least 70 miles per hour, with 15 of them at 75 or more. Illinois looks to be joining them soon, perhaps to give our legislators a chance to make a faster getaway when constituents question them about why the state is in such sad shape.